Ex-con in N.Y. Arrested for Deed Fraud

October 22, 2014

An ex-convict who moved into an empty Queens, N.Y., home owned by an elderly woman in Manhattan has been arrested and charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

Jennifer Merin has maintained the empty three-bedroom Tudor as a "sanctuary [for] her family," she told the New York Post, explaining that she had paid insurance, taxes, and utility bills over several decades but never rented out the home. In late May, she saw a spike in her February water bill and called 911, but Beatty told police he was the legal resident with his two sons.

Merin and her lawyer located a deed transfer filed by Beatty that claimed he had acquired the house in March 2013 from an Edith Moore. But the address listed for Moore did not exist and the phone number went to a voicemail inbox for a man named Tony. There was no mention of Merin or her family on the transfer form. The case went to the city's housing court, where Beatty was arrested last week.

City officials in Queens say that staffers have been retrained to flag discrepancies and deed information is now checked against previously filed city records. Also, home owners can sign up for a new city service that alerts them if changes are made to their deeds. Since June, at least 100 deeds affecting 300 properties are now being investigated as possible frauds, according to city sheriff Joseph Fucito.

Source: "Ex-con arrested for filing fake deed to steal woman’s home," New York Post (October 15, 2014)